The Workshops Await!

Happy Spring! It’s our favorite time of year again! And with spring comes (drumroll please…) WORKSHOPS! We are so excited to be offering three different workshops starting this month!

As in previous years, we have a variety of dates available for Fairy/Miniature Garden Workshops! It has been like Christmas in the greenhouse opening all our new houses, fairies and accessories. Each new box brings a chorus of ooh’s and aww’s as we oggle over our new inventory. We are so excited, and we can’t wait to share our excitement with you!

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We also have a plethora of dates for our Container Gardening Workshops, where you can come in with your pots and baskets and create your own beautiful planters with the aid of our fantastic greenhouse staff.

And new this year, we are starting a “Do-it-Yourself” Container Planting Station for those of you who are comfortable planting your own containers, but still would like to use the greenhouse space to visualize and create your pots and baskets. We will have open slots where people can come and go as they please!

To learn more about the workshops we have to offer and the dates they are happening, click here. You can also call us at 920-893-0843 or email us at

We look forward to seeing you and sharing the joys and excitement of container gardening this spring!




Pictures of Nancy throughout her years at the greenhouse

Noooooo! Nancy, don’t leave us!

Okay, so maybe you’re not leaving us for good, but retirement is a big step, and we’re going to miss having you around more often.

We did have fun at your retirement party, though.


Nancy with the young’uns

Nancy has been with us since our inception in 1979 and has been an invaluable part of what goes on here at Moraine Gardens.


Current and former Moraine Gardens employees

She was the driving force behind our robust container gardening operation, making thousands of baskets, helping to give workshops, and providing invaluable advice gained from years of practical gardening experience to our customers.


That’s a big cake, Nancy!

We hope retirement treats you well!

Spring Is Here

Face Lift

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Every year, when we tell people that we still work, even through the winter months, they invariably ask us, “what do you do during the winter?” We find plenty of ways to keep busy, but one of our main goals during the off season is to do what we can to make our facilities better. This winter, we’ve been giving our store a face lift and preparing a new fairy garden display area. Primarily, that means a lot of painting.

We’re giving the floor a more subdued slate gray covering that coordinates better with the rest of the decor. Our red floor was getting a little tired and needed an overhaul. We’ve also repainted the bathroom, added a purple accent wall to our fairy garden display area and updated some of our wooden trim with a fresh white color. The overall effect is to make the story feel more open and airy, and the space is much brighter and more inviting now.

As you can see, this is not a task for the faint of heart. We’ve had to get creative with our storage options while painting because of our high inventory volume–and new things are coming in all the time. It feels an awful lot like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Even Lily has volunteered to help–she provides great moral support and reminds us every once in a while that we need to take a break so we can play ball with her.

We’re excited to see the finished product and look forward to being able to show off our renovated store this spring!

Why are my plants turning yellow?

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The Problem

We’re to that point in the summer, especially with a wet summer like we’ve been having, where containers start to look a little ragged and the leaves on your plants are probably starting to turn a little yellow. This is a condition know as chlorosis.

Sweetgum-leaf-interveinal-chlorosisChlorosis is the result of a chlorophyll deficiency. In most cases, the tips of the newest leaves will be the first to turn yellow. Then the discoloration will work its way down the leaves and into the older foliage. As you can see from the picture, the veins of the leaf will remain a darker green. In severe cases the leaves can turn almost white.

There are a few conditions that can cause chlorosis, but one of the most common is iron (or ferrous sulfate) deficiency. Now, the problem is not that there is an iron deficiency in the soil, because most soils have plenty of iron to satisfy any plant’s needs, but that there is a shortage of the proper type of iron. Of the two types of iron found in the soil, the kind that is often lacking is the more soluble, and therefore more readily usable, form.

The Reason

So why do plants need iron?

Even though most plants don’t need a lot of iron, it is essential that they have the little bit they need because without it, the plant cannot produce chlorophyll. Plants use iron to transport oxygen and other nutrients needed for photosynthesis from the roots up to the leaves. Iron is also used by many plants in some enzyme functions.

The Solution

Give your plants iron!

Many garden centers sell chelated iron fertilizers (chelated is just a fancy way to say that it’s water soluble) which can be mixed with water according to the proportions given on the label and then fed to the plants by watering them with the mixture. This is an easy way to give iron to houseplants and plants growing in containers. If you have trees, shrubs, or beds that need iron, there are fertilizers such as copperas or other high-iron fertilizers that can be worked into the soil around the plants that need it.

Unfortunately, giving your plants the iron fertilizer may not be enough for it to have its intended effect since the problem is not always a lack of iron but conditions that inhibit the availability to plants. There are several factors that can inhibit a plant’s iron intake besides a non-soluble form of iron. These factors include:

  • high soil pH
  • high levels of phosphorus in the soil
  • too much clay soil
  • overly compacted and/or wet soil

Fortunately, there are solutions to each of these problems.

Fixing the pH

Highly alkaline soils (levels 8 and higher) restrict the plants ability to absorb iron because high pH decreases iron’s solubility. If you have applied an iron fertilizer and it seems to be having no effect, you may need to lower your soil’s pH by adding acidic matter to the soil. One easy way to lower the pH in beds and around trees and shrubs is to work left-over coffee grounds into the soil.

Fixing phosphorus levels

It is hard for plants to get too much phosphorus because this nutrient is incredibly important for good plant health. However, on those rare occasions when a plant has too much available phosphorus, the plant will store the excess phosphorus in the form of phytic acid, binding up other important nutrients such as iron in the process. To correct this condition–which will usually only happen as the result of over-fertilization–simply use a lower phosphorus (the middle number) fertilizer.

Fixing clay soils

You will never have to worry about this condition in your containers if you use a quality potting mix when planting your containers, but this condition is frequently encountered in flower beds and other in-ground plantings. Clay soil lacks the organic matter which contains the nutrients needed to make the iron in the soil available to the plants. To fix this, work organic matter such as peat moss and compost into the soil. For heavy clay soils, it may take a few years of working in organic matter to obtain a suitable loamy soil.

Fixing wet or compacted soils

When the soil becomes too wet or too compacted, there is not enough air for the roots to be able to take up the iron in the soil. This problem is closely related to the problem of clay soil since clay soil in beds and plantings makes drainage slower and clay soil is often heavily compacted, but it can also occur in containers that have been over-watered. Once again, this problem can be lessened in beds by working organic matter into the soil so that the drainage and aeration are better. Another method which is effective in both containers and in-ground plantings is to use a chelated iron fertilizer as a foliar spray or soil supplement.

So now you know why your plants are turning yellow and have the know-how to fight chlorosis.

Helpful sources and further reading:

“Too high, won’t die; too low, won’t grow.”

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This little saying gets thrown around a lot here at the greenhouse.

It’s a quick and easy way to remember not to plant things too deeply, which is a common mistake that many new gardeners make.

Unless you’re a veteran gardener who knows your plants and which are the exceptions, following this rule will help more of your plants survive than not. Many people just don’t think about it. They plant their flower beds and vegetable gardens, and if something gets planted a little too deep, they don’t even notice.

So why is it important not to plant things too deeply?

Because it will make it harder for your plants to grow and could even cause their stems to rot off.

The crown of the plant is where the stem meets the soil and turns into the root system.


Ideally, the crown should be level with the soil, and most plants don’t like to be planted any deeper than the crown with many doing just as well when planted a little higher.

As mentioned before, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Tomatoes, for instance, should be planted with the crown of the plant several inches deep. The reason for this is that all of the stem that’s underground will send out new roots that will help strengthen the plant and allow it to gather more nutrients. Some sedums will do the same and can be planted deeper than the crown.

Even the plants that can be planted deeper will do just fine when planted with the crown at soil level as well.

One plant to be especially careful with is the tuberous begonias as they are susceptible to rotting from over-watering.

What’s the point of all this?

When in doubt “too high, won’t die; too low, won’t grow” is always a good rule to follow.

Fairy Gardens Galore

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We just finished the second of our fairy/miniature gardening workshops, and boy did we have fun!

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It was exciting to see the imagination of each person come out in their miniature creations. Some chose a backyard theme with a few little patio chairs and a small garden plot. Others went for with a more eclectic approach, making some of their own accessories to fill their little fairy world.

fairy gardens 114This fairy gardener proved that you can make a cute little garden in a small shallow container, and both her little wheelbarrow and wooden pan turned out nicely.

fairy gardens 113Here’s someone who chose to use our little “Fiddlehead Fairy House,” showing that you don’t need a huge container to fit a fairy house in your garden.

The kids had fun too! Their creativity even showed up some of us adults!

Here’s a few of the fairy gardens our staff have made. Some of these are for sale, but others are merely for display and inspiration.

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We’ve had 12 fairy gardens that either went off to their new homes or were left here to stay nice and cozy-warm until the weather warms up. We’ve still got plenty of miniature plants and fairy garden accessories, though, so stop by and take a look. Maybe you’ll be inspired to take a few things home and try your hand at this magical